Interning in the Advocacy office – Maya’s Story

Maya at the White House
Maya at the White House

Hi, everyone! My name is Maya Crutchfield and I’m from Silver Spring, MD. I’m currently a Junior Sociology major at Howard University and I hope to attend law school in the future, although I am still exploring my options. I am extremely excited to be an Advocacy intern and look forward to all that I will learn from and experience with JDRF this fall!

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) on September 18, 2001, about two months shy of my 6th birthday. My parents noticed many of the traditional symptoms of T1D and took me to the doctor to be evaluated. The following day, I was admitted to the hospital and given a diagnosis fairly quickly. Interestingly, at the time of my diagnosis, there were no pediatric endocrinologists in our area. As you may have guessed, my life changed drastically that day! I vividly remember learning the basics ofT1D in that hospital room, including learning how to give myself an insulin shot using an orange. Although my T1D diagnosis was a huge shock, with the patience, support and love of my family, medical staff, and ‘Rufus, the Teddy Bear with Diabetes,’ I have learned how to live a happy, full and normal life with T1D. I am incredibly thankful for them all!

I am the only member of my family that has T1D, and because of this, JDRF has been an important resource of support and information for my family and me. I fondly remember my first JDRF Walk not long after I was diagnosed. My family, friends, and I created a team – ‘Maya’s Magic Marchers’ – and I designed our t-shirts (they were light pink with wonderfully illustrated stick figures). That walk showed me that I was not alone in my experience with T1D, and that others also shared a strong passion and determination to find a cure. Since then, I’ve been extremely grateful to JDRF for the hard work the organization puts into supporting families affected by T1D, by spreading awareness about this disease, and funding important research towards a cure!

Maya at her first JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes in Savannah, Georgia (circa early 2000's)
Maya at her first JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes in Savannah, Georgia (circa early 2000’s)

I feel so very fortunate to intern with an organization that shares so many of my same (and deeply personal) interests. Because JDRF has been helpful to me as a person with T1D, I look forward to interning with the Advocacy team this fall and giving back in any way I can. I have seen firsthand the results of JDRF’s hard work, so I am interested in being a part of what goes on behind-the-scenes at the Advocacy office. I am also quite eager to learn the means by which JDRF advocates for people living with T1D in front of our elected legislators! Being able to work in person with the JDRF Advocacy team and experience all of the hard work that goes into each event, program, campaign or bill proposed gives me an increased appreciation for what JDRF does for the broader T1D community. I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity and can’t wait to see what is in store this fall!